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Who Made the Plague?

(A nursery rhyme for grownups)

Who made the plague? the children asked,
Let the villains be unmasked
And all the children gathered round
To hear the parents of plague expound.

I, said the wet market, I made it profit, I made the plague.
I kept pangolins and bats in cages
And wrecked the wilderness for wages.
Breeding disease for pleasure and gain,
I, said the wet market, I caused the pain, I made the plague.

No I, said the factory farm, I caused the harm, I made the plague.
Food was the best medicine; I turn it to pestilence.
In vast animal prisons and oceans of shit,
I’m the source of the scourge that keeps people sick.
I defile from seed to slaughter, poisoning soil and sky and water –
I, said the factory farm, I made the plague.

No I, said the chainsaw, I am the law! I made the plague.
Whatever the wrath, I clear the path.
Whenever the curse, I was there first.
I cut down the groves where medicines grow,
I topple the trees you need to breathe.
Deforestation is my delight; I block the exit from this plight.
I, said the chainsaw, I made the plague.

No I, said the car, plague is par for my course – I made the plague.
I am the pandemic czar; I help the virus travel far
While filling the air with particulate matter, which helps it transmit even faster.
They cut down the trees to make room for more me,
I, said the car, I am the arsonist, I made the plague.

No I, said the doctor, I am the rock star, I made the plague.
My practice is vain, my theory is vague; I own this plague!
The sicker the people, the richer I get –
It’s obvious where I place my bets.
I did what I was told to earn these robes,
Now I listen rarely, and heal people barely. I, said the doctor, I made the plague.

No I, said the pharmacy – drugs are destiny! I made the plague.
I dilute the cure to keep profits pure,
I keep science slow so diseases can grow.
My waste is prodigious, and your faith in me religious.
Bullets may kill, but I rule war and peace with pills.
I sow debt and reap fear, buying cheap and selling dear –
I, said the pharmacy, I made the plague.

No I, said the scientist, I persisted, I made the plague.
I labored long inside the lab,
In armor of abstraction clad,
For lofty aims and logical reasons
Weaponizing infections diseases.
Later, I will make a cure! I assure you my intentions are pure.
I, said the scientist, I patented this plague.

No I, said the school, I trained these fools, I made this plague.
I did the casting for this show;
I taught these characters all they know.
All the people implicated in making the plague are educated.
I prepared this plague, and more to come – I turn smart people dumb.
I, said the school, I make the rules, I made this plague.

No I, said the priest, plague is my feast. I bless this plague.
My predecessors burned people who believed in germs;
I gather my flock close to hear God’s word.
Fear of death is good for the church – plague works.
We plan in centuries, collecting money and souls – plague’s our ace in the hole!
God bless this plague.

No I, said the police, I who serve least, I protect this plague.
I stand between problems and their solutions.
I am enemy of the revolutions which accompany all plagues.
I do the legwork. I preserve pandemic order. I patrol the border.
I run drugs and kill thugs and cover it up.
I make sure there’s no cure. I, said the police, I protect this plague.

No I, said the expert, I made it work, I made this plague.
Do you know how many moving parts it takes to get a pandemic started?
In every realm of human life I helped to make this crisis ripe.
I administered and supervized and held the door to disaster wide.
I ruled the world before; the plague is my encore – I made the plague.

No I, said the commander, I have mastered disaster, I made this plague.
I planned the germ games, but that’s just the start –
The world is a stage for my pandemic art.
On land skies and seas I weaponize disease.
At the summit of power and skill, I am killing for thrills.
I keep you free. Be all you can be. You, said the commander, I want you to join the plague.

No I, said the politician, plague is my mission; vote here for plague!
This pandemic came at the perfect hour –
I looted the nation and sold it for power,
And just when my hustle was becoming clear,
The plague arrived and filled voters with fear –
Three cheers! Big Brother is here! They hold him dear!
I, said the politician, I endorse the plague.

No I, said the banker, I outflank and outrank all the other contenders, I made the plague.
I issued the credit for this epidemic,
And I’ll collect debts from the one that comes next.
With fractional reserves I rule the world;
I devastate with interest rates and prolong the bleeding with quantitative easing.
All the others are pawns. I am the Don. I minted this plague.

No I, said the billionaire, y’all can’t compare, I made the plague.
I made the mess and I’ll make it clean;
I made the virus and I’ll make the vaccine,
I launch the rockets and pocket the profits,
I give people jobs to help me rob them even more,
I always want more. I, said the billionaire, I want more plague!

Or me? asked the citizen. Maybe it isn’t them; did I make this plague?
I heard the warnings long before,
But I stayed behind my suburban door.
I was a sheep within the herd
And got the leaders that I deserved.
I traded freedom for comfort, and consciousness for convenience;
I gave this plague clearance.
I, said the citizen, maybe I made this plague.

And who’ll cure the plague, the grownups wondered,
Who will reweave what we’ve torn asunder?
And all the grownups gathered round
To hear the children’s words resound.

I, said the soil,
I’m ready to toil,
I’ll cure the plague.
I, said the seed,
I’ll grow what you need,
I’ll cure the plague.
I, said the tree,
For you and for me
For her and for he
I’ll cure the plague.
I, said the bird,
I’ll sing the words,
I’ll cure the plague.
I, said the bee,
I’ll gather the sweetness,
I’ll cure the plague.
I, said the wilderness
I’ll bless this destiny,
I’ll pass this test,
I’ll cure the plague.
I, said the child,
I’ll keep the world wild,
Just by being a child,
I’ll cure the plague.

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